Posted by Rosie Dooley, BSc (Hons) Audiology, RHAD on February 28, 2020
When your Audiologist turns up at your front door for a home visit hearing test or wax removal, you might be wondering why they haven’t brought their kitchen sink too. What could they possibly need all those bags and cases for? Let’s go through all the Audiologist tools and equipment and their roles to assure you that they are not, in fact, moving in.
The most important piece of the Audiologist tools and equipment for a hearing test or wax removal appointment is an Otoscope which is used by the Audiologist to examine your ear canal and tympanic membrane (eardrum). Before a hearing test or wax removal procedure can begin, this examination – called Otoscopy, must be performed so the Audiologist is aware of any blockage of the canal and any abnormalities of note. In branch, Hear4U Audiologists use a Welch Allyn Otoscope and for domiciliary work, a Heine Mini Otoscope is used.
The bulkier pieces of Audiologist tools and equipment include the Audiologist’s laptop, Audiometer, Aural Microsuction and Water Irrigation kit along with all the associated paraphernalia that they require. Depending on your appointment type, not all of these pieces will be required but generally, the Audiologist will travel with everything in case the need arises. For an Audiologist, there is nothing worse than being out and about for home visits or a satellite clinic and not having something that they need.
The laptop is key for the running of Audiometry and Hearing Aid software, enabling the Audiologist to perform a hearing test and program hearing aids according to the hearing thresholds. The type of hearing test Hear4U Audiologists carry out regularly is called a Pure Tone Audiometry and is conducted with an Audiometer. The portable diagnostic Audiometer used by Hear4U Audiologists in their home kit is an Inventis Piccolo.
In branch, we have both Inventis Trumpet Audiometric equipment and Kamplex technology. Of course, these audiometers have to deliver sound to the ear, and they do this with two types of the transducer; air conduction (headphones) and bone conduction (a tight band carefully placed by the Audiologist behind the ear and over the head). A response button is needed to communicate that sounds have been heard by the testee.
The Audiometer and its transducers will be carried in the pull along with the case, along with a large collection of hearing aid programming connectors. There are many different hearing aid manufacturers and they each use a different method or gadget to connect their hearing devices to a computer, which is further complicated by the different generations of hearing devices. Hear4U Audiologists can connect to many manufacturers hearing aids including Phonak, GN ReSound, Starkey, Widex, Oticon and more.
If you are having a hearing test for the first time and wish to try a pair of hearing aids during the appointment, the Audiologist will have a pair of the latest technology hearing aids with them to be able to program up for you, unless you require a power hearing aid – which will need a more occluding or custom fitting for the best sound quality. In their pull-along case, they will carry with them all the Audiologist tools and equipment required for taking any aural impressions required, which are then sent off to a manufacturer for custom fitting hearing aids and ear moulds to be made. Also in the pull along case, will be all the equipment needed for the retubing of ear moulds and changing of wax traps. A small stock of batteries and wax traps are carried for general sale.
For wax removal appointments at home or in a satellite clinic, Hear4U offers both Water Irrigation and Aural Microsuction methods. They, therefore, carry the Audiologist’s tools and equipment with them at all times. The equipment used for Microsuction is a rechargeable DeVilbiss suction unit and a Propulse Ear Irrigator is used for Water Irrigation, each carried in their own shoulder bag.